Professional Ethical Standards

Last Updated: 29 Mar 2021
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While researching a growing number of career potentials in the field of criminal justice, one sticks out more than the others. The field of practicing law and being a lawyer certainly created more interest than some of the others. An attorney has an interesting job, and the side of the law he/she chooses to practice proposes different ethical situations that would create potential dilemmas in everyday situations. Attorneys are people that are sometimes charged with the way other people’s lives are affected.

With so many different areas of law to study, this paper will address the field of a defense attorney. There are many questions a person should ask before making the choice to enter into law school and move forward in this career path. Do I enjoy working closely with people regarding significant issues or events involving their lives? Can I empathize with a client’s situation, yet have the ability to objectively analyze the issues and their consequences in light of the existing law? Do I enjoy educating or teaching a person about a subject which he or she may be ignorant or have serious misconceptions?

Am I able to articulate in a clear and concise manner my analysis of a problem to others, whether it is verbally or in writing? Do I enjoy being an advocate? Can I argue both sides of the question with enthusiasm? Do I like detail work? Do I enjoy searching for the facts of a situation? Do I like to read and study? After answering these questions, one can determine whether he or she should pursue a career in law. A day in the life of a defense attorney includes important decisions and specific judgments that have to be made.

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A defense attorney typically will practice law by defending people accused of a crime or some other offense. A defense attorney has to be aware that he/she is defending a person that has been accused, has possibly broken the law, and is trying to be acquitted or absolved from wrong doing. While a defense attorney may know the truth about the crime the accused is defending against, it is the attorney’s job to put a reasonable doubt in the mind of a jury or judge and seek a judgment that suits the defense. The defense attorney must possess sharpened nalytical skills when examining a case, and be able to find the flaws in the prosecution’s charges against a client. A defense attorney also is responsible for billing for their time. A lawyer typically bills for his/her time by the hour, but that is also broken down into 6 minute increments. It is imperative that billable time is kept track of and is able to be proven to the client. In the State of Illinois there is a lengthy document named the 2010 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct that is written and adapted by the Illinois State Supreme Court.

While summarizing the document for the purpose of this essay would be exhausting, there is a preamble that outlines the basic code of ethics for law professionals in the State of Illinois. There are a list of 21 responsibilities that a lawyer must be followed to uphold your responsibility to the bar association, the client and your profession. Lawyers in Illinois are a representative of their client, and have a responsibility for the quality of justice. A lawyer is expected to be an advisor to his clients and must provide the client with a clear understanding of legal rights and obligations in legal matters.

In all matters a lawyer should be prompt, competent and diligent concerning a case, and should always maintain contact with the client. A lawyer’s conduct should always conform to the requirements of the law. As a public citizen, a lawyer should always look for improvement to laws, access to the justice system, and quality of service rendered by the legal profession. A lawyer should strive to attain the highest level of skill in their profession. The legal profession is largely self-governing, and is maintained because of the close working relationships of the courts.

Lawyers play a vital role in the preservation of society; the fulfillment of this role requires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship to the legal system. These rules and an exhausting list of others are the code of ethics lawyers in Illinois are expected to abide by. There are many ethical dilemmas that can affect a lawyer on a daily basis. Lawyers face these dilemmas and are held to a higher standard when dealing with them. Since lawyers are expected to know the laws they are expected to e less susceptible to giving in to ethical situations. One of the most common ethical breaches for an attorney is a failure to be diligent or to communicate with clients. While this problem may be caused by several reasons, it seems there is a pattern that shows that some attorneys suffer from a depressive disorder. Even though lawyers know that lawyers must be diligent when communicating with their clients, they may have a legitimate medical disorder that possibly prevents them from doing so on a consistent basis.

The code that is meant to address this break of ethics is: “In all matters a lawyer should be prompt, competent and diligent concerning a case, and should always maintain contact with the client. ” This ethics code instructs a lawyer to realize the client has expectations and the lawyers are expected to uphold those expectations. Another common ethical issue among attorneys is a misrepresentation by the attorney. For example, a lawyer says he has a lot of experience in a certain type of case, when in fact he has little experience in that type of case.

This type of ethical violation would be found under a heading of misconduct. It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage any conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. This type of misrepresentation by a lawyer damages the profession and creates a situation of mistrust. Lawyers are generally trusted members of the justice system, and are given important information during a case they are working on. It is very important that the lawyers are working within the ethical systems set forth by the state’s bar association.

Working within the bar association’s code of ethics will ensure the success of a lawyer’s career and help grow the client base. Becoming an attorney strikes me as an interesting career to pursue due to the high level of analytical details required to be successful. There are many ethical situations that come up on a daily basis for a defense attorney. From communicating with your clients, to billing issues there is always something a lawyer has to be aware of while maintaining an ethical code. When dealing in a profession that has a reputation of being dis-liked nd not trustworthy, a lawyer must be careful not to get into a situation where he or she can be found unethical. Ethics has always been an issue that troubles lawyers in their fields. When determining ethical issues a lawyer must constantly refer to their code of ethics in their particular state. If a lawyer is found guilty of violating an ethical code, with intent to harm others, a lawyer can be dis-barred, sued, and even charged with a crime. In summary, it is in a lawyer’s best interest to adhere to the code of ethics set forth by the state they choose to practice law in.


  1. Illinois Supreme Court (January 1 2010). Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct. Retrieved from www. state. il. us/court/supremecourt. htm
  2. The Princeton Review (2012). Career: Attorney. Retrieved from www. princetonreiew. com Anthony T. Verwey (February 15th 2011). Depressive Disorders and Attorney Discipline. Retrieved from www. utbf. com
  3. J. Riley (March 25th 2008). Do I want to be a lawyer? Retrieved from www. academic. regis. edu Lawyers. com (2012). Reporting a Lawyer for Ethics Violations. Retrieved from www. legal-malpractice. lawyers. com

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Professional Ethical Standards. (2017, Apr 02). Retrieved from

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